Looking Back on 2023

Housing Recapped graphic

With 2023 in our metaphorical rear-view mirror, we’re taking a moment to look back at all Housing accomplished. We did some really wonderful, valuable things! Check out a few of our favorite moments, projects, and activities.


Spring Sweep

After a multi-year hiatus, Housing Sustainability brought back the Spring Sweep! This was a great opportunity for staff to sort through what they no longer need. Items were offered to others in the division to find a new home!

Two staff pose for a photo at the Spring Sweep



ROSE Awards

Twenty-two outstanding students were presented with a ROSE Award during the ceremony at Gordon. Another congratulations goes to them for blowing us away with their valuable contributions to Housing.

2023 Rose Award Winners

Meal Exchanges Across Campus

We partnered with the Babcock Dairy Store and Wisconsin Union to offer meal exchanges (as part of the residence hall student dining plan) in convenient locations across campus. Now, when residents want a quick bite at a Badger Market, for example, in a nearby academic building during passing time, they have this easy option!

Chancellor Mnookin talks with people eating at Liz's Market

Best Room Contest

We toured every residence hall room to find the best one! Only joking — actually, students submitted photos of their room to the 2023 Best Room Contest! We saw some unbelievable spaces, but the best room of them all belonged to Pippi and Megan in Cole.

Winners of the 2023 Best Room Contest in their room in Cole Residence Hall



As usual, we had a great time at the 47th annual Housing staff Gutterball event! Do you have what it takes to win the 2024 Strikeoff Contest? We can’t wait to see!

Staff at a bowling alley for 2023 Gutterball

Housing Breakfast

We all gathered at the annual Housing Breakfast to recap the end of the 2022-23 academic year and to enjoy a tasty meal together. We heard from Chancellor Mnookin, Dining showed up all in tie-dye, and we saw colleagues who we don’t get the chance to see every day.

Staff sitting at tables at the annual Housing Breakfast

Employee Awards

Eight individuals and two teams were presented with Housing Employee Awards! We recognized these folks for their phenomenal work and dedication to everyone we serve. To those who won — if you need the reminder today, you’re incredible. Congrats again to Lindsay Gustin, Dan Kerkman, Alyssa Lamberton, Beth Miller, Justo Valencia, Shawna Veselsky, Sarah Wanish, Andrew Werner, the Bradley, Phillips, & Dejope Custodial team, and the University Apartments Custodial team.

The UA Custodial team holding their 2023 Employee Awards


We helped thousands of Badgers move out of the residence halls. Though, by May, they were seasoned moving pros and needed less help than they did last August! Our Sustainable Move-Out efforts saved over 150,000 pounds of materials from the landfill. Nice!


Dining & Culinary Services Campus Farm

We started growing food on the new campus farm to be served right here in our dining markets! Using a plot of land in the Eagle Heights Community Gardens, we are growing fresh produce that chefs are artfully incorporating into their dishes. Thanks to both staff and students, we are incorporating extra-locally-sourced food into our menus.

Dining staff harvesting eggplants and other produce from the Dining & Culinary Services Campus Farm


Family Prom

Families at University Apartments spent a night “Under the Sea” during their Family Prom event. Residents and staff showed up dressed to the nines for an evening full of dancing and fun.

Two children dancing together at the UA Family Prom

Kindness Campaign

Throughout the month of July, the residents of University Apartments focused on sharing kindness in the UA community through a Kindness Campaign. With the help of the residents, the goal was to build a kindness definition for all the members of UA to follow, share ideas on how we can uphold our goals and expectations, and give back to the Madison community. From all of these opportunities, the families, friends, couples, and even singles in University Apartments learned a lot about kindness, support, and appreciation. Friendships were formed, and many others saw the value in giving back to other residents and the Madison community.

Two adults and a child posing for a photo at the UA Community Center


Undergraduate Website Refresh

At the beginning of August, Marketing launched a redesigned website experience for undergraduate and incoming students. It is currently serving as the template for other sections of the Housing website, which have been receiving updates ever since. This refresh is helping our audiences find what they need faster and easier.

Residence Hall Move-In

We opened our doors to 8,000+ residents starting in late August. Bucky Badger and Chancellor Mnookin helped Badger Buddies move students in. It was a wonderful sea of red shirts, carts, and decorations, and we’re already getting ready to do it again!

Chancellor Mnookin takes a photo with a new student inside a residence hall room during move-in

Bucky Bot

We launched a brand new chatbot on the Housing website! The Bucky Bot has taken some question-answering off of our hands by allowing audiences to ask questions and receive an answer within seconds. So far, the chatbot has been asked over 2,800 questions.

Visit from the Department of Education

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education Cindy Marten, U.S. Under Secretary James Kvall, Director of Dane County School Consortium (DCSC) Josh Fassl, and University Housing Facilities staff met to tackle important issues in higher education and student experience in youth apprenticeship programs. Housing partners with DCSC to help ensure that the youth of today are directly exposed to real-life hands-on experience in maintenance and trades opportunities we have at Housing and on campus. The goal of the program is to share in the development and hiring of the next generation of maintenance and trades staff at UW–Madison. This also ensures that as our aging workforce leaves and begins to enjoy their retirement, we have a pool of eager, educated, and trained staff to step into their shoes. This was an incredible opportunity for our staff in supporting the Housing Youth Apprenticeship program. Thank you to everyone who have helped in training the next generation of maintenance and trades staff! We couldn’t do it without you.

Department of Education and University Housing staff posing for a group photo at Four Lakes Market


Shake Smart

We opened a new dining location at the Bakke Recreation & Wellbeing Center — Shake Smart! It’s a national chain that aims to fuel students’ busy lifestyles. Serving protein shakes and healthy food options, we are helping Badgers stay active.

Bucky Badger holding up a pink protein shake while Shake Smart staff work behind the counter

Sellery Renovations Wrap Up

After three years of full-building renovations, Sellery Residence Hall was ready to welcome new students into its glorious interior. While a few small pieces still needed finishing after move-in, construction equipment was taken away and a beautiful, completed project was revealed.

Sellery Residence Hall exterior


Off-Campus Housing Office

The division expanded this year and formed a new department to serve students at UW–Madison. The new area, Off-Campus Housing Services, aims to help students find housing options outside of the residence halls in a tricky, high-demand private market.


Selfies with Bucky

Bucky Badger stopped by during the Partners in Giving campaign. Why? To take selfies with staff for charity, of course!

Two staff members pose for a photo with Bucky Badger


End-of-Semester Gatherings

We gathered together one last time in 2023 to spend time with coworkers, have a snack, play cards, take a picture in the photo booth, and just catch up.

Two Housing staff holding holiday-themed props in a photo booth

UA Community Center Interior Renovation

The Community Center at University Apartments is getting a whole new look. We’re still working on the project, but the new paint, flooring, and furniture are looking stunning so far!

Throughout the Year

Summer Camps & Conferences

We hosted over 110 groups and roughly 14,200 people during the summer conference season. All of these people ate a total of around 140,600 meals in our dining markets, and 10,500 stayed in a residence hall. Those are some impressive numbers!

Reducing Food Waste

With stewardship in mind, we implemented Leanpath, a food waste tracking system at Rheta’s and Four Lakes Market. Rheta’s had the technology first, and their initial goal was to reduce pasta waste by 25%. In just a few short months, the reduction was up to 97%! After the obvious success, Four Lakes was next to begin evaluating their food waste. We can’t wait to see how it goes!

Technology Updates in Meeting Spaces

We brought excellence to hybrid meeting experiences! Conference and meeting rooms got technology upgrades so no matter where you are, you can still successfully collaborate with ease.

House Fellow & Student Staff Training

The Residence Life team onboarded hundreds of new student staff before the Spring 2023 and Fall 2023 semesters. Amid activities and fun, student staff learned to how to support residents successfully and with integrity.

House Fellows at a social

Work Orders

Our Facilities staff responded to 43,832 work orders in 2023 with exceptional care. A few words come to mind after seeing this number…wow, thank you, how impressive, unbelievable.

A mechanic attending to repairs

Logging Packages

In 2023, Desk Services logged around 331,000 packages. It takes a lot of optimism to manage that many parcels! Many thanks to the team for making sure we all get our mail.

A Housing student staff member smiles for a photo among packages on shelves

UW–Madison 175th Anniversary

Campus kicked off the year-long celebration of its 175th anniversary. With lots of creativity, we came up with fun ideas to add to the celebration! We held a Dining Through the Decades special event, we developed a commemorative email signature, we compared Housing photos old and new, and we are tying this campus milestone in to many of the things we do every day! There are still a few more months left of the celebration, so stay tuned to see what else is coming.

Late Night & Weekday Events

Wisconsin Late Night hosted events every Friday and Saturday nights for residents to make new friends, new experiences, and frequently, new crafts! Every-other week, Wisconsin Weekdays put on events at both the Lakeshore and Southeast neighborhoods of campus so students could step away from the stress of academics for a little bit to attend an engaging event. With respect for the many, many interests our residents have, staff planned a variety of events so there was something for everyone!

Students posing for a large group photo during a Wisconsin Late Night silent disco event

2023 was nothing short of amazing for the division! If we missed something amazing you or your team did in 2023, let us know. All in all, we couldn’t have done it without YOU. Let’s make 2024 an even more outstanding year for Housing!